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The latest news from Business Insider

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    millennials selfie coachella

    • Millennials are ditching beer for pot, according to Cowen's Vivien Azer, Wall Street's top marijuana analyst.
    • Slumping beer sales and the loosening regulations around marijuana have led to a rash of tie-ups between beverage-makers and Canadian marijuana producers, as companies like Constellation Brands and Molson Coors look towards emerging industries to revive their business. 
    • Azer raised her forecast for the marijuana market by $5 billion to $80 billion by 2030, as survey data shows young people are consuming more marijuana than previously thought in legal jurisdictions.
    • "I would expect all of the large global alcohol players are paying attention to this," Azer said.

    As beverage-makers contend with slumping beer sales, they're turning their attention towards a new growth opportunity: marijuana.

    Wall Street's top marijuana analyst, Cowen's Vivien Azer, estimates sales in the US will hit $80 billion by 2030 — up from her previous estimate of $75 billion— if marijuana is legalized at the federal level.

    That represents a 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from the estimated $50 billion marijuana market today. Azer revised her estimates upwards after looking at the increased use rates among young adults in legal jurisdictions. 

    On top of that, young people are also consuming fewer drinks and spending less on beer, adding to the headwinds that beverage-makers are facing. In fact, Azer said last year "looks to have been the worst year for beer sales," in the near-decade since she has covered the sector. 

    "I would expect all of the large global alcohol players are paying attention to this," Azer said in a Tuesday meeting with reporters in Cowen's midtown Manhattan offices, adding that these trends will continue to drive M&A. 

    Marijuana represents one of the 'most significant global growth opportunities' of the next decade

    Slumping beer sales and the loosening regulations around marijuana have led to a rash of tie-ups between beverage-makers and Canadian marijuana producers, as companies like Constellation Brands and Molson Coors look towards emerging industries to revive their business. 

    Bill Newlands, the incoming CEO of Constellation Brands — the beverage maker behind Corona — said on the company's earnings call that marijuana "represents one of the most significant global growth opportunities of the next decade and frankly, our lifetimes."

    "It's an opportunity that is opening up much more rapidly than originally anticipated," said Newlands. 

    Read more: Marijuana M&A is already hot in 2019, with a pot tech-vape tie-up worth $210 million

    Last year, Constellation closed a $4 billion investment into Canopy Growth, paving the way for other major corporations to move into the industry. Molson Coors entered a joint venture with Hexo in August, and Heineken's Lagunitas Brand has developed a hoppy, marijuana-infused sparkling water beverage for the California market.

    And perhaps notably, Jakob Ripshtein, an alum of British spirits brand Diageo, was recently promoted to chief commercial officer of Aphria, a Canadian marijuana producer that has been the target of short-seller ire and hostile takeover attempts.

    Not to be outdone, tobacco manufacturers have also joined the fray. Altria, the tobacco maker behind popular brands like Marlboro, paid $1.8 billion for a 45% stake in Cronos Group, a Canadian LP, last year. 

    states where marijuana legal 2x1

    The CBD market is going to explode 

    Following the passage of the Farm Bill late last year, which legalized hemp federally in the US, Azer expects CBD to be the "most topical" trend in the marijuana industry in 2019.

    CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound in the marijuana plant that's thought to have a range of wellness benefits, though the science is still shaky.

    Azer said the market for CBD could generate $1.6 billion in revenue over the next year or two. It's still unclear, however, how the FDA will regulate CBD-containing products.

    Read more: One of Canada's largest investment banks wants a piece of the $194 billion marijuana industry

    Canopy Growth outlined plans earlier this week to use the Farm Bill as an entry point into the US hemp market, and an executive at Aurora Cannabis, another Canadian LP, told Business Insider in December the Farm Bill provides a "pathway" to enter the US market while staying onside of federal and stock exchange regulations. 

    Azer maintains outperform ratings on the pot stocks she covers, including Tilray, Canopy, and Kush Bottles, a marijuana packaging company.

    "We should finally start to see the true benefits of adult use sales, and the lapping of upfront investments," said Azer. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What is CBD oil and how did it become a $1 billion industry?

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    Karan Bhatia google global policy chief

    • Google's head of public policy Karan Bhatia has reportedly hinted at restructuring the company's Washington, DC, team responsible for lobbying on Capitol Hill.
    • Sources told Bloomberg that Bhatia shared a blank organizational chart that had only his own name filled in at the top.
    • The chart prompted employees to fear for their jobs.
    • Bhatia joined Google in June to head up the company's policy team, and has previously worked for General Electric, and as deputy U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush.

    Some employees at Google responsible for lobbying DC lawmakers are fearing for their jobs after a company executive hinted at restructuring their team.

    Karan Bhatia, Google's VP of global public policy, is rethinking the roles of employees on the company's policy team in Washington, Bloomberg reports. Bhatia, who was named to the executive position in June, reportedly shared with the policy team an empty organizational chart with only one named filled in — his own at the top. The rest of the spots were blank boxes, according to Bloomberg.

    After Bhatia was hired, the company's top lobbyist, former Representative Susan Molinari, resigned last year, effective December 31, although she told Bloomberg she's agreed to stay on as an advisor. She was head of policy for the Americas.

    The changes in this DC policy team follow a tumultuous year at the company. For instance, Google vowed to limit the kinds of military contracts its cloud unit would pursue after a huge internal brouhaha. Google's plans to launch a search engine in China with censored results, known as Dragonfly, were cancelled after the project faced backlash from the company's privacy team. In December, Congress questioned Google CEO Sundar Pichai for 3 1/2 hours regarding concerns over privacy and transparency, including allegations of political bias in search results.

    Read more:Google in 2018: The good, the bad, and the ugly

    Before joining Google in June, Bhatia served as GE's president of government affairs and policy. He also served as the deputy U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush.

    Google declined comment.

    SEE ALSO: Trump responds to news of Jeff Bezos' divorce: 'I wish him luck. It’s going to be a beauty'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The safest way to walk on ice is to impersonate a penguin — here's why

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    190109 084820_3200

    • Tech companies are increasingly adopting all-remote workforces.
    • A few years ago, investors were hesistant about startups that don't even have a office — but the success of all-remote companies like Zapier and GitLab, as well as the increasing availability of chat tools like Slack and Zoom, have given them confidence. 
    • Startups are fighting with Silicon Valley tech giants for the best talent, so hiring remotely can be a way to attract better talent who live in other parts of the globe.
    • Startups can also cut costs by not having to pay for office space and by hiring outside of the expensive Bay Area.
    • An all-remote culture carries its own drawbacks. For example, should everybody be paid the same amount, if they live in areas with different costs of living? 

    On New Year's Day, David Biggar — a support manager at anti-malware company Emsisoft— moved into a fixer-upper RV with his wife.  

    He's planning to leave his home in Caldwell, Idaho behind him. Biggar isn't sure where he and his wife want to grow old together, so they're going to hit the road and find out — somewhere warmer, perhaps, in the south, or on the coast.

    He's not leaving his job behind, though. In fact, Biggar will keep working from wherever he can find WiFi — a luxury he's afforded because his whole companies works remotely, from wherever in the world they happen to be. 

    Emsisoft is just one of a growing number of all-remote tech companies, including well-known startups like GitLab and Zapier. 

    This kind of arrangement is attractive to both employers and employees: Salaries in Silicon Valley might be sky-high, but so too is the cost of living. By hiring remotely, employers can find the best talent, wherever they are in the world, while also saving on both salaries and office space. And for their part, employees like Biggar get to work from wherever they want. 

    "The funnest, neatest thing is being able to up and go, as long as it doesn't impact work performance," Biggar told Business Insider. "Having the flexibility is amazing, instead of being tied down to an office or a schedule."

    In 2017, 5.2 percent of U.S. workers employees worked from home, according to the last census. As it becomes more socially acceptable in America to work from home, it's similarly encouraged startups to choose the all-remote path. 

    "People are just getting to used it," Adam Ozimek, senior economist at Moody's Analytics, told Business Insider. "Technologically, it's been possible for a while. It takes a slow cultural change to allow people to work from home."

    Indeed, towards all-remote companies are changing. Megan Quinn, general partner at Spark Capital, says that just five years ago, most investors would balk at putting money into an all-remote startup. Now, it's seen as less of a factor — Quinn herself led Spark's investment in design platform InVision, which is all-remote.

    "The thinking was you had to have everyone in the same four walls," Quinn told Business Insider. "That's changed really dramatically in the last five years."

    Recruiting the best talent

    In Silicon Valley, there's a war constantly raging to recruit the very best talent. Startups and mega-corporations alike try to lure new recruits with the promise of lavish perks to go with their famously high salaries. 

    By hiring only remote workers, though, startups are finding that they can bypass that battle altogether. Rather than go toe-to-toe with corporate giants in the major metropolitan areas, all-remote companies are finding success by recruiting from places that traditionally aren't thought of as tech talent hubs. 

    Take, for example, Clark Valberg, CEO and co-founder of InVision. After the company raised its first round of funding, he was trying to figure out how he was going to hire engineers. Valberg was based in New York, and Google had just opened a New York office. He realized that, as a startup, it would tough to compete with Google.

    "How are we going to hire for engineers when Google is competing for every single engineer we want to hire?" Valberg recounts to Business Insider. "What if we worked with people in places like Arizona? It was basically a hack. It started as a talent hack. I think a lot of companies are thinking of going remote because of the talent crunch."

    Quinn said that while she had some concerns about all-remote companies, the fact that InVision was remote didn't have any impact on her decision to invest, positively or negatively. Rather, she says that she was impressed by the quality of talent on the InVision team. 

    "It's the fact that they're able to bring the best team possible because they opened their talent pool from San Francisco Bay Area to the entire world," Quinn said. "It's more about the people they're able to bring into the community."

    These employers can be appealing to anybody looking to leave the San Francisco Bay Area, too. Zapier, an all-remote startup that helps integrate business software, actually provides a "de-location package" for people who want to move away from the Bay Area. After it started offering this deal, applications shot up about 50 percent, says Wade Foster, CEO and co-founder of Zapier.

    Zapier cofounders (resized for online)

    Notably, Foster sees the "de-location package" less as a cost-cutting technique, and more as a recruiting tactic.

    "The de-location package started because we had many folks in the Bay Area who were interested in Zapier because it meant they could work at a fast growing company and move out of the Bay Area," Foster told Business Insider. "It's a way to appeal to a certain set of folks who would rather work and live somewhere else."

    Read more:The CEO paying employees $10,000 to leave San Francisco explains how it's helping him build a $20 million business

    Cutting costs and living where they want

    Still, for many companies, hiring only remote workers is indeed a cost-cutting measure. 

    "The advantages of an all-remote firm is that you don't have to buy new office space," Ozimek, the economist, said. "There are cost savings to the firm by going all remote. You get to reach into a wider number of labor markets. You can cast a wider net. You can hire people living in a low-cost of living area."

    Christian Mairoll, founder and CEO of Emsisoft, made his company all-remote for this reason. When he founded Emsisoft over 15 years ago, he didn't have the capital to invest in hiring talent from more competitive markets. 

    "It was just far out of reach," Mairoll told Business Insider. "I was never a fan of external funding. I was never a fan of venture capital. When the software was reaching a viable level, as you can imagine without a marketing budget, it was a long process."

    Meanwhile, he found developers in Russia and Siberia who were excited about doing work for Emsisoft, and whom Emsisoft could pay at competitive rates for their areas, in turn. And soon, Emsisoft was able to hire more employees and the company grew.

    Nowadays, Mairoll lives in rural New Zealand, where he tends to his sheep, chickens, and fruit trees in between meetings with Biggar and Emsisoft's other 40-plus employees. He doesn't ever plan to open an office for Emsisoft.

    "That's not the nature of the business," Mairoll said. "I don't think it can be mixed very well. When you combine local offices with remote work, you quickly separate the remote workers and don't see them as full members of the team anymore. I don't think it would be a smart plan to start a local office."

    Building culture

    When employees are spread all over the country and worldwide, not seeing your co-workers face-to-face can be a challenge to building a cohesive company culture. Still, employees at all-remote companies find a way to connect with each other, even if it they mainly interact on chat apps like Slack, or video conferencing systems like Zoom. 

    At Zapier, employees will occasionally have remote dance parties, where employees record and share gifs of themselves busting a move. At popular code-sharing service GitLab, a bot pairs random employees up for "coffee chats," where they can talk about work or anything else they want. At Emsisoft, employees meet virtually Sunday evenings to play online board games.

    "Something that I like about the culture is the ability to get to know people's quirks," Priyanka Sharma, director of alliances at GitLab, told Business Insider. "I've had coffee chats where we talk about work or growing vegetables at high altitudes in Colorado. I get to hear about interests and activities that are really different."

    Many of these companies also host regular real-life meetups for their employees, which can sometimes be fairly lavish. GitLab hosts a summit every nine months, with the location changing each time — the next one will be in New Orleans. InVision has rented out resorts and water parks for its employees. 


    Not all fun and games

    It's not all fun and games, though: Remote work requires constant communication. With colleagues all over the world, employees lean heavily on services like Slack and Zoom to collaborate. 

    "I live on Zoom," Sharma said.

    Quinn says that investors like herself coach entrepreneurs to make sure they fully understand the limitations of relying on these tools for collaboration.

    The secret, these companies have found, is transparency. Time zones mean that employees might not always be awake at the same time, so it's important that as much information as possible is stored out in the open, so employees can make the best possible decision even when their teammates aren't online.

    "You want to be able to solve those problems with the best information available," Foster, the CEO of Zapier, said. "When you're asleep at night and someone needs to make a decision, they need to have access to that information."

    GitLab tries to apply this transparent approach to its entire corporate culture. For example, its handbook is completely open to everyone, and any employee can edit it, document how they do their work, or recommend improvements. It posts its goals publicly, such as how it plans to go public in November 2020.

    Read more:Investors are betting hundreds of millions of dollars that startups like PagerDuty, GitLab, and CloudBees can change the way software gets made

    Dave Munichiello, who led GV (formerly Google Ventures) in its investment in GitLab, recalls that when he was at first "hesitant and skeptical" about the company's all-remote approach, but was ultimately proved wrong.

    "I was a bit skeptical about the fact that a company could scale," Munichiello said. "I was worried about the cost of a company being geographically separated, but what we learned was what's very important here was great documentation."

    Still, Munichiello warns that all-remote is only the right strategy if the team is completely on board with the idea and is confident that they can communicate effectively. 

    Unexpected pitfalls of remote

    At the same time, the introduction of all-remote workforces introduce unique challenges. 

    For instance, Barbie Brewer, chief culture officer at GitLab, says that hiring outside of Silicon Valley gives it access to upper-tier talent that would otherwise go ignored. At the same time, it's surprisingly complicated to figure out how to compensate that talent fairly — if pay is based on each employee's cost of living, it raises the very real possibility that two people doing the same work with the same job title will see a huge disparity in their salary.

    "Paying someone in San Francisco the same as you'd pay someone in Nigeria might be nice on paper, but in reality, one of you will be very well-off, while the other is average," Brewer said. "Or one will be very poor and not able to afford a place to live while the other is doing great. We try to have parity as much as possible, but that doesn't mean everything based on where you live will be the same."

    To try to normalize the pay range, GitLab has committed to a policy that no employee will be paid less than 41% of what an employee would be making for the same work if they lived in San Francisco.

    What it's like to work remote all the time

    At the same time, employees see tangible benefits in not having a physical office.

    Employees at all-remote companies don't have to commute, have lots more flexibility around working hours, and generally get more hours in their day for family time, medical appointments, physical fitness, and other important things that can otherwise go neglected.

    Brewer, for her part, says that working remotely has allowed her continue working while taking care of her children, and more recently, start chemotherapy treatments without having to take time off. 

    Elsewhere in the world, Frank Huisman left a job where had to drive over 100 miles from his farm in rural Portugal to get to work. The company had an apartment that he could stay in on weekdays, but he still found it exhausting to drive two hours after a long workday to return home for the weekend.

    Now, as a quality assurance manager at Emsisoft, he uses the time that he was spending on his commute to instead clean the stables and run errands like groceries and going to the post office.

    "I don't really miss working in an office," Huisman told Business Insider. "There are a lot of advantages to working remotely. There's no cars, no traffic jams...On the computer, I can really focus on my work. I think the biggest challenge is to keep focused and to make yourself be honest to your employer that you really make the hours."

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    Indeed, GitLab's Sharma says that it's very important for remote workers to be self-starters, while at the same time making sure you find ways to separate your work life from your home life. She says it's tempting to default to working from your bed in pajamas — so she makes it a habit to get dressed for work, even though she's not going into an office, just to make sure her brain shifts gears into work mode. 

    "The one thing you do is wake up, get dressed, and then you start work," Sharma said. "Just that one thing has made my day so productive."

    Nailing that balance, though, has many rewards, she says. 

    "I've had the privilege of working with people around the world," Sharma said. "My worldview has changed. I've learned about other parts of the world without leaving my room. I've really learned and appreciated that intelligence and competence doesn't have a zip code...I think the world is changing and remote is making that happen."

    Biggar would likely agree. He'll start his day with coffee and breakfast with his wife at a nearby restaurant, where he will begin doing his work. This routine is about to change when he takes off in his RV with his wife, but for the most part, his work schedule won't. 

    "It's really kind of a dream job. I can't imagine anything better, especially since I'm getting older," Biggar said. "As long as you can arrange your priorities right and be responsible, this is an amazing kind of thing."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: China made an artificial star that's 6 times as hot as the sun, and it could be the future of energy

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    Atlas_Studios_Gladiator_Game_Of_Throne_Filming_Morocco (45 of 46)

    • Atlas Film Studios is a 322,000 square-foot studio in southwestern Morocco that is considered to be the largest film studio in the world.
    • More than 200 major films and television shows have filmed there, including "Gladiator,""Ben Hur,""Kingdom of Heaven,""The Mummy,""The Passion of the Christ," and, most recently, "Game of Thrones" and "Aladdin."
    • Located in a stunning red desert landscape, Atlas is often used for its dramatic landscapes, the relative cheap cost of production, and its promixity to the striking medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou, also a popular filming location. 
    • I recently visited and it was a strange place strewn with the elaborate replicas of biblical towns, Egyptian temples, Tibetan monasteries, and more. It's very weird, but definitely worth the visit.

    Think about any biblical or historical epic you've ever seen. There's probably a barren landscape of soft golden-red rocks, mud brick buildings, and thatched straw roofs. 

    From "Lawrence of Arabia,""Noah," and "The Passion of the Christ," to "Ben Hur,""Gladiator," and "Kingdom of Heaven," the landscape is the same. There's a reason for that.

    They were all filmed near Ouarzazate, a desert city in southwestern Morocco, that is known as "the door of the desert."

    Just outside Ouarzazate lies Atlas Film Studios, a 322,000-square-foot property that is considered to be one of, if not, the biggest film studio in the world.

    Founded in 1983 by Moroccan entrepreneur Mohamed Belghmi for the filming of the 1985 action-adventure film "The Jewel of the Nile,"  Atlas has since become a premier destination to film big budget blockbuster films thanks to the area's dramatic landscapes, the relative cheap cost of production, and its promixity to the striking medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou, also a popular filming location. 

    Most recently, Atlas Film Studios was used for filming scenes in "Game of Thrones" and Disney's upcoming live-action "Aladdin," starring Will Smith.

    On a recent trip to Morocco, I decided to make a stop in Ouarzazate to check out Atlas Studios. It was about as strange a place as I've ever been to. 

    Here's what it was like:

    SEE ALSO: An otherworldly desert in Jordan has doubled as distant planets in movies like 'Star Wars' and 'The Martian' — after seeing it myself, I can tell you it's just as breathtaking in person

    DON'T MISS: I rang in the New Year at an all-night rave in the Moroccan desert. It left Times Square in the dust.

    Ouarzazate lies about 125 miles or so from Marrakech, where most people start their trip to Morocco. After driving for hours through winding mountain passes, I came upon the desert town. It's a barren landscape.

    A few miles outside of the town lies Atlas Studios, opened in 1983 by Moroccan entrepreneur Mohamed Belghmi. It is now run by Amine Tazi, who owns Atlas Studios and nearby CLA Studios.

    When Atlas isn't being used by crews to film movies, it's open to visitors for only $5 a ticket.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    nancy pelosi donald trump

    • The government shutdown is now in day 20, setting the record for the second-longest shutdown in the modern era.
    • There appears to be no end in sight as President Donald Trump and Democrats dig in on their border wall stances.
    • As the shutdown drags on, more federal workers and agencies become affected.
    • Here's your rundown on how the government ended up in a shutdown and where we go from here.

    President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats seem to be dug in over the government shutdown, and after more than two weeks without a funding bill, there's no end in sight.

    At the heart of the dispute is Trump's demand for just over $5 billion toward a long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. Democrats insist they will allocate no money toward a wall.

    Those factors mean the possibility of a record-breaking shutdown seems to be growing. As it stands, the shutdown is in its 20th day, passing the 1978 shutdown to become the second-longest of the modern budgeting era. The record is a 21-day shutdown in 1995-1996.

    Read more:Here's a history of all the previous shutdowns in the modern era»

    The shutdown only affects part of the federal government, as seven of the 12 bills that fund the government were passed in September. But a large number of departments are shuttered, including agriculture, commerce, justice, homeland security, the interior, state, transportation, and housing and urban development.

    The problems caused by the shutdown are wide-ranging, from waste piling up in national parks to uncertainty for 800,000 federal workers about when their next paycheck will come. And as the shutdown drags on, the problems caused by the shutdown are expected to keep getting worse.

    Read more:Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown»

    With all that in mind, here's a rundown of just how we got here:

    The pre-shutdown fight

    • December 6: Congress passes a short-term funding bill to delay the shutdown until after the date of President George H.W. Bush's funeral.
    • December 11: Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer meet with President Donald Trump to discuss the funding deadline. Trump demands $5 billion in border-wall funding, Democrats counter with an offer of $1.6 billion in general border-security funding. Trump rejects the idea and offers to take the blame for the shutdown. The president says he would be "proud" to shut down the government.
    • December 19: The Senate passes a clean short-term funding bill, called a continuing resolution (CR), that does not include border-wall funding but will keep the government open until February 8. Trump supported the bill at the time, Senate GOP leaders said.
    • December 20: Trump flip-flops on the clean CR after listening to attacks from conservative TV pundits and the hardline House Freedom Caucus, and he announces that he will not sign a bill with no wall funding. House Republicans then pass a CR that includes $5.7 billion in wall funds.

    Shutdown kicks in and the Christmas break

    • December 21: Trump demands the Senate vote for the House version of the CR and tells Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster in order to pass the vote with only GOP lawmakers, but the idea is a nonstarter. The Senate votes down the House version of the bill, and the government moves closer to a shutdown at the midnight deadline.
    • December 22: McConnell announces in the afternoon that lawmakers have not reached a deal, and adjourns the Senate until December 27. Senior Trump administration officials also suggested to reporters that the White House would not back down on the wall, indicating that only Senate Democrats could end the shutdown by caving on the funding.
    • January 1: After a relatively quiet Christmas break, Trump suggests Nancy Pelosi should make a deal. "Border Security and the Wall "thing" and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?" Trump tweets.

    Democrats take control and the shutdown gets real

    • January 2: Congressional leaders from both parties meet with Trump at the White House, it is the first face-to-face meeting in three weeks. The president enlists Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to make the case for the border wall. Following the meeting, Democratic leaders reiterate that no money will be allocated for the wall.
    • January 3: Democrats take over control of the House and Pelosi is elected Speaker. Later in the night, the new Democratic majority passes two bills which would both fund the government that do not include funding for the border wall. The bills even earned a handful of GOP votes. Despite the bills being nearly identical to the measures passed by the Senate before the holiday break, Republican Senate leaders reject the idea of taking up the bills.
    • January 4: Congressional leaders meet with Trump at the White House, where the president told Democrats that the shutdown could last for "months or even years" if no border wall money was allocated. Democrats suggested that Trump allow the government to reopen and then fight over the wall.

    Shutdown nears history

    • January 5: Representatives from the White House meet with representatives from Schumer and Pelosi's offices, according to reports the talks go poorly. Trump also floats the idea of declaring a national emergency to secure the funds for the wall.
    • January 6: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that talks between the Trump administration and Democrats were difficult. "I think this is going to drag on a lot longer," Mulvaney said.
    • January 8:Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office, giving a speech that is carried by all the major networks in primetime. The president largely sticks to previous talking points regarding the situation at the border and does not declare a national emergency. Schumer and Pelosi offer a rebuttal, also sticking to previous talking points.
    • January 9: A White House meeting between congressional leaders and Trump ends abruptly. Schumer claims that Trump "sort of slammed the table" and left the room when Pelosi again rejected border wall funding. Republican leaders dismiss the idea that Trump slammed the table and tell reporters Trump even "passed out candy" to the participants. 
    • January 10:Trump travels to McAllen, Texas to tour the border and meet with local officials. The president once again ignites speculation that he will declare a national emergency to get money for the wall. Pelosi says Trump doesn't really want a wall, just a fight over it because "he loves the distraction that this is from his other problems."

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    kate hudson today show

    • Kate Hudson appeared on NBC's "Today" show and spoke about giving birth to more kids with boyfriend Danny Fujikawa.
    • "At one point, I was like, oh maybe I'm done and then I met Danny, and I was like, all right, well, I got to pop them out for him," the 39-year-old said. 
    • Hudson added that Fujikawa "needs" his own son. 
    • Hudson and Fujikawa have a three-month-old daughter together named Rani Rose, who was born last October, and the actress has two sons named Ryder and Bingham from previous relationships with Chris Robinson and Matt Bellamy, respectively.


    Kate Hudson talked about the possibility of having more kids, specifically a boy, with boyfriend Danny Fujikawa

    During an appearance on NBC's "Today" show, Hudson said that she always considered having four to six kids when she was younger. She also added that coming from a big family, "you either don't want kids or you want a lot of kids."

    Hudson, who gave birth to two sons before welcoming a daughter with Fujikawa last October, said that she's open to giving birth again.

    "At one point, I was like, oh maybe I'm done and then I met Danny, and I was like, all right, well, I got to pop them out for him," the 39-year-old said. 

    When asked if she plans on having more kids with the musician, Hudson said, "I don't know. I mean, if it works out that way … he needs a boy, right? His own boy."

    In addition to the couple's three-month-old daughter Rani Rose, Hudson has a son named Ryder Russell Robinson (born in December 2000) from her marriage to The Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson. She also has a son named Bingham Hawn Bellamy (born in July 2011) from her relationship with ex-fiancé and Muse singer Matt Bellamy.

    Watch the video below (Hudson talks about having more kids at 2:00). 

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.   

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    most affluent town in every state map

    • Using data from the Census Bureau, we found the town in each state with the highest median household income.
    • There's a large amount of overlap between income and educational attainment.

    Incomes vary widely across the United States.

    The American Community Survey is an annual survey run by the Census Bureau to allow the government, corporate and academic researchers, and anyone who is curious about demographics to better understand the US population. Among many other subjects, the ACS includes questions about respondents' total household incomes.

    Read more: All 50 states and Washington, DC, ranked from least to most average

    Using the ACS estimates from 2013 to 2017 for places with at least a 1,000-person population, Business Insider made a map showing the town in each state with the highest median household income.

    The Census Bureau top-codes median household incomes, which means that for places where that median is above $250,000 per year, they do not give a precise estimate in order to protect the privacy of survey respondents. In four states — California, New York, Maryland, and Texas — there were multiple places with populations over 1,000 that fell into the over $250,000 bracket. To break the tie, we chose the town in the over-$250,000 median income bracket with the highest average household income.

    There is a large overlap between towns with high incomes and high educational attainment. In 19 states, the most affluent town was also the town with the highest educational attainment as defined by share of the over-25 population with at least a bachelor's degree, according to our recent analysis.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago — here's what his life is like in prison

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    Marco Rubio

    • Sen. Marco Rubio said a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump over border security could hurt Republicans in the future.
    • Rubio said Congressional Republicans "have to be careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power."
    • The Florida lawmaker warned that a declaration on border security now could set a precedent that, in the future, might embolden a Democratic president to declare a national emergency over other issues like climate change.
    • Florida is one of the most flood-prone states in the country due to climate change.

    Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida warned President Donald Trump against declaring a national emergency over border funding, saying it could set a precedent that in the future could be dangerous for Republicans.

    "If today, the national emergency is border security ... tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change," Rubio said Wednesday during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box".

    Rubio said he is in favor of "anything that makes the border more secure," but that he doesn't believe the president should declare a national emergency right now.

    The US is currently on day 20 of the government shutdown, which began when Trump refused to accept any spending bill that didn't include $5.7 billion in border wall funding.

    Read more: Trump's threat of a national-emergency declaration to fund the border wall is leaving Capitol Hill in shock

    Rubio, a Florida Republican, told CNBC that Trump has to keep his "promise" of building a border wall, given that his base would be disappointed if he doesn't comply.

    In the last few days, the president has been floating around the idea of declaring a national emergency over what he has called a "border crisis," which would allow him to skip Congress' approval for wall funding and instead use the military to build it.

    Rubio said Republicans should be "careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power," adding that he's "not prepared to endorse [a national emergency declaration] right now."

    WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the nation in his first-prime address from the Oval Office of the White House on January 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. A partial shutdown of the federal government has gone on for 17 days following the president's demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall while Democrats have refused. (Photo by Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images)

    "For people on my side of the aisle, one of the concerns we should have is if today the national emergency is border security, and it entitles him to go out and do something — we all support that," Rubio said. "Tomorrow. the national security emergency might be climate change, so let's seize the fossil fuel plants or something. Maybe it's an exaggeration, but my point is we've got to be very careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power."

    It is unclear whether the president has considered Rubio's warning. On Thursday, the president tweeted that he "maybe definitely" might declare a national emergency over border security. As he headed to the border on Thursday, Trump told reporters he has "the absolute right to declare an emergency."

    “I haven't done it yet," he said. "I may do it if this doesn’t work out. I probably will do it."

    US presidents have declared 58 national emergencies since 1979, according to the Brennan Center's count. George W. Bush did after 9/11, while Barack Obama did during the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

    SEE ALSO: Trump and Democrats dig in their heels as the partial government shutdown extends into the new year with no end in sight

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    Jeff Bezos
    • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos created the world's most valuable company during the 25 years he was married to MacKenzie Bezos.
    • The couple, which announced plans for divorce on Wednesday, apparently have no prenuptial agreement and live in a state where assets are split 50/50.
    • MacKenzie was part of Amazon's early team, helping to come up with the name and serving as its first accountant. But there's another reason she deserves half of the $137 billion Amazon fortune.

    Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person and the CEO of Amazon, is getting divorced from MacKenzie Bezos, his spouse of 25 years.

    Apparently, there was no prenup. And in Washington, where the couple lives, assets acquired during a prenup-less marriage are split 50/50.

    If you’re married to the world’s richest person (Bezos' net worth is $137 billion!) who is entirely self-made, do you deserve to get half?

    For MacKenzie Bezos, absolutely. For one simple reason: There would be no Amazon without her.

    MacKenzie Tuttle and Jeff Bezos met in 1992 when they both worked for hedge fund D.E. Shaw. MacKenzie graduated from Princeton and became a research associate at the firm where Bezos was a vice president. Her office was next door to his and three months after they began dating, in 1993, they were married.

    While at D.E. Shaw, Bezos came up with the idea for Amazon. MacKenzie was supportive from the beginning, despite the high probability that his venture would fail (almost all startups do).

    Brad Stone writes in The Everything Store:“At the time, Bezos was newly married, with a comfortable apartment on the Upper West Side and a well-paying job. While MacKenzie said she would be supportive if he decided to strike out on his own, the decision was not an easy one."

    MacKenzie later told CBS: "I'm not a businessperson. So to me, what I'm hearing when he tells me that idea is the passion and the excitement... And to me, you know, watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure — what is better than that, and being part of that?"

    In 1994, at age 30 and 24 respectively, Jeff and MacKenzie decided to blow up their cushy lives.

    They road tripped across the country in search of a new home and headquarters for Amazon. MacKenzie drove while Bezos punched out a business plan and revenue projections in the passenger seat. After starting in Texas and buying an old beat up car, they wound up in Seattle.

    The pair brainstormed the name “Amazon” together after almost choosing a different name, MacKenzie became Amazon’s first accountant, despite the fact that she was an aspiring novelist. She did a lot of other grunt work, like most early startup employees do, from driving book orders to the post office to handling the company’s bank account and line of credit. She met early Amazon investor John Doerr and partied with the team in Mexico after Amazon’s IPO.

    But beyond her early role in the company is the significant role any spouse plays in a partner's career.

    Both Warren Buffett and Sheryl Sandberg say that the most important career decision you can make is who you marry.

    Sure, there's the sacrifice one partner might make to allow the other to pursue a demanding career. But that's not what Buffett was getting at.

    "Marry the right person," he said at the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. "I'm serious about that. It will make more difference in your life. It will change your aspirations, all kinds of things."

    Would the notion of opening an online bookstore have taken hold of Bezos as forcibly if he hadn't met MacKenzie? Would he have executed on that vision in the same way, hired the same people and taken the same kinds of risks with a different partner?

    Obviously these are impossible questions to answer. But it's not outrageous to suggest that a person's motivations, attitudes and goals are influenced by the most important person in their life.

    Regardless of whether a spouse is listed as a partner on a business masthead, many couples operate as a team focused on a grander, overarching enterprise and working in tandem to achieve common goals. That's part of the reason why many state laws recognize the concept of community property.

    Buffett has said that without his first wife Susi, who died in 2004, he would not have built his fortune. "What happened with me would not have happened without her," he said in a 2017 HBO documentary.

    What happened to Bezos would not have happened without MacKenzie.

    SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos' divorce could soon make MacKenzie Bezos one of Amazon's biggest shareholders

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tested out $30 tiny spy cameras from Amazon by spying on our co-workers

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    artificial intelligence social network eter9

    Many companies use the term artificial intelligence, or AI, as a way to generate excitement for their products and to present themselves as on the cutting edge of tech development.

    But what exactly is artificial intelligence? What does it involve? And how will it help the development of future generations?

    Find out the answers to these questions and more in AI 101, a brand new FREE report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, that describes how AI works and looks at its present and potential future applications.

    To get your copy of the FREE slide deck, simply click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    • Shares of retailers fell on Thursday after Target, Kohl's, and Macy's reported holiday sales guidance. Nordstrom shares plunged 8% in sympathy, and Best Buy fell 3%.
    • Macy's led the group to the downside, with an 18% drop. The company lowered its sales and earnings guidance after a weak holiday period.
    • The XRT, a popular retail-tracking ETF, fell 2%.

    Shares of retailers were hit hard on Thursday after a handful of stores offered holiday sales guidance that disappointed investors.

    Macy's was a notable decliner, plunging nearly 19% after lowering its sales and earnings guidance after a weak holiday period. Kohl's fell by over 6% after its comparable sales growth was smaller than the same period last year.

    Target, meanwhile, reported solid comparable sales growth, but held its full-year sales and earnings per share steady, which Deutsche Bank analysts said was likely behind the stock's decline. Some investors hoped a strong holiday season would translate to lifting full-year guidance, analysts led by Mike Baker told clients on Thursday.

    "While the sales were strong, we think that product mix and digital fulfillment could have added pressure to margins and as such, we think the implied guidance suggests the possibility that margins could be down slightly in 4Q," the analysts wrote.

    Here's what some of the major retailers said today about how they fared during the 2018 holiday season.

    • Target: Comparable sales grew 5.7% in November and December, compared with a rise of 3.4% over the same period last year. For the entire fourth quarter, Target said it still expected comparable sales growth of around 5%, and left its full-year sales and earnings per share guidance unchanged.
    • Kohl's: Comparable sales in November and December rose 1.2%, compared to a nearly 7% rise during the same period last year. The company also said it lifted its full-year guidance on diluted earnings per share.
    • Macy's: Comparable sales increased by 0.7% during the holiday season. The company lowered both its full-year sales and profit guidance after disappointing holiday sales; Macy's now forecasts flat annual revenue growth, compared to its prior estimate of a 0.3% to 0.7% rise.

    Macy's, specifically, pointed to a holiday season that started off well, but languished. 

    "The holiday season began strong – particularly during Black Friday and the following Cyber Week, but weakened in the mid-December period and did not return to expected patterns until the week of Christmas," Jeff Gennette, Macy's chairman and CEO, said.

    Read more: Macy's is getting clobbered after slashing guidance due to a disappointing holiday season

    The retailers' reported weakness did not look like a broader warning sign for the US consumer at this point, said Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, a Massachusetts-based institutional trading firm.

    "From what I can see, nobody is blaming the consumer for these results," Matt Maley told Business Insider in an email on Thursday.

    He pointed specifically to strong employment and solid wage growth, so the issue he said appeared to be a more sweeping challenge faced by brick-and-mortar stores.

    Bed, Bath & Beyond was one retailer bucking the trend on Thursday. Its stock rose 5%, extending a 20% surge in after-hours trading on Wednesday, after reporting quarterly earnings.

    Now read:

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    border wall prototype steel

    • One of the steel prototypes for President Donald Trump's border wall was sawed through by Border Patrol and military personnel assigned to test it, according to a Department of Homeland Security report NBC News obtained.
    • The prototype designs aren't being used for any of the steel fencing the Trump administration is currently building, but a Homeland Security spokeswoman told NBC the design is similar to those used for years at the border.
    • She said the prototype design was meant to take "time and multiple industrial tools to breach," giving Border Patrol agents extra time to respond to any breaching attempts.
    • Trump also addressed the prototype on Thursday, noting that "there's nothing that can't be penetrated ... but what you do is you fix it."

    Despite President Donald Trump's growing fondness for "steel slats" along the US-Mexico border, one of the steel border-wall prototypes his administration built in 2017 was cut through with a saw, according to a Department of Homeland Security report NBC News obtained.

    The network published a photo showing the steel slats after testers from Border Patrol and the US military took saws to the prototype to see if it could withstand cutting.

    The prototype was one of eight erected outside San Diego, California, which Trump visited last spring. The prototypes included a mix of steel and concrete designs, and Trump said he favored the ones with "see-through" steel components, so Border Patrol agents would be able to see the other side.

    But a Homeland Security spokeswoman told NBC that none of the prototype designs are currently being used in the fencing projects currently under construction, and that the steel bollard-style design of that particular prototype has long been used on US border barriers.

    Read more: Trump reportedly thinks referring to the border wall as 'steel slats' will get more Democrats to agree to fund it

    border wall prototype

    "While the design currently being constructed was informed by what we learned in the prototypes, it does not replicate those designs," Katie Waldman said in a statement to NBC. "The steel bollard design is internally reinforced with materials that require time and multiple industrial tools to breach, thereby providing US Border Patrol agents additional response time to affect a successful law enforcement resolution."

    She continued: "In the event that one of the steel bollards becomes damaged, it is quick and cost-effective to repair."

    Reporters asked Trump about the sawed-through steel on Thursday morning before he departed the White House for a trip to the border in McAllen, Texas.

    "That's a wall that was designed by previous administrations," Trump said. "There's nothing that can't be penetrated … Even concrete — there's acid that can go through concrete. But what you do is you fix it. And it very much limits; it's very, very hard. The wall that we're doing is very hard to penetrate."

    Read more: Trump visited his border wall prototypes for the first time — and the photos are great

    border wall prototypes

    The news comes amid a nearly three-week-long government shutdown over Trump's demands for $5.7 billion to construct the border wall. Congressional Democrats have refused to grant the funds, calling the concept of a wall "immoral."

    But Trump has continued to insist that the border is in a state of "crisis," arguing that a border wall is the most effective solution.

    "This barrier is absolutely critical to border security," he said in his televised address to the nation Tuesday evening. "This is just common sense."

    Experts disagree.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    powell traders

    • Market watchers breathed a sigh of relief following the December jobs report, which some saw as a sign recession fears have been overdone.
    • But some still see warnings of a downturn.
    • Economists think the next recession, whenever it occurs, will be less severe than in 2008.

    The latest labor market figures painted a standout picture of the US economy, soothing markets after months of recession talk from Wall Street to Washington.

    But some think a downturn is actually more likely in light of the employment report, which showed the US added the most jobs since February and that wage gains accelerated at their fastest pace in nearly a decade.

    “The surprisingly robust 312,000 rise in US non-farm payrolls in December soothed market jitters about an imminent recession,” said Albert Edwards, a Societe Generale strategist, in a research report. “But a quick look at history reveals accelerating payroll data is not untypical just ahead of recessions.”

    Employment jumped sharply just ahead of the recent recessions that started in 2007 and 2001, he noted. This could be the case because employment reports point to current and past business conditions, according to economists, as opposed to future performance.

    Some see the steepening yield curve— seen as a potential recession indicator — as a signal that a slowdown might be less likely. But after partially inverting for the first time in more than a decade in December, Edwards said that too could be a warning.

    “This curve steepening, after a period of pronounced flattening, is a good indication of imminent recession despite continued strength in the labour market,” Edwards added.

    Following sharply lower consumer confidence and manufacturing figures out in the US last week, he’s far from alone in his recession predictions.

    A Wall Street Journal survey out Thursday showed an increasing number of economists see a downturn on the horizon. More than half of those polled said they expect a downturn to begin in 2020, while about a quarter forecast one would start in 2021.

    Regardless of when it might begin, market watchers widely agree the next recession will be more mild than the one a decade ago. While the financial crisis in 2008 was driven by record levels of debt, according to Russell Investments strategist Erik Ristuben, Americans today are not over-leveraged.

    “Will the next US recession be as severe as the last? Highly unlikely,” he said. “From a recession standpoint, the Great Recession of 2008 was much more of an anomaly than a norm. The parallels between today’s economic backdrop and 2008 look to be few and far between.”

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    Volatility was supposed to be a lifesaver for stock pickers — here's why it hasn't been, and why that could be signaling more market pain

    The best-performing investment of 2018 came as a shock to everyone — and the stars are now aligned for its continued dominance

    SEE ALSO: The US could lose its crown as the world's most powerful economy as soon as next year, and it's unlikely to ever get it back

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

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    michael cohen

    • Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, will testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on February 7. 
    • On December 12, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including two large payoffs to silence women who claimed to have affairs with Trump.
    • Cohen also plead guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about the Trump Organization's efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 election. 

    Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer who was recently sentenced to three years in prison, will testify before the House Oversight Committee in February, in a dramatic early move from Democrats as they prepare to ramp up investigating the president.

    “In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7,” Cohen said in a statement to the New York Times. 

    “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired," he added.

    Cohen's public testimony could spell trouble for Trump, given Cohen's extensive knowledge of and participation in illegal hush money payments, the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia, and the Trump Organization's efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. 

    Read more: Everything Michael Cohen told Mueller about the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia, according to the memo that could land Cohen a 'substantial' prison sentence

    In August, Cohen plead guilty to federal tax fraud, bank fraud, and violating federal campaign finance law, including payouts to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump.

    Federal prosecutors said in their sentencing memo for Cohen that he made the payments "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump, establishing him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.

    On November 30, Cohen struck a deal to plead guilty to one count of lying to Congress in exchange for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.

    Cohen admitted to falsely stating in his September 2017 congressional testimony that the Trump Organization ended talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow sometime in January 2016.

    Mueller's sentencing memo for Cohen said Cohen provided 70 hours of official testimony on a variety of subjects, including the Trump Tower deal, the Trump campaign's communications with Russia-linked individuals, and the "circumstances" of preparing his false congressional testimony. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

    • Slack will go public through a direct listing rather than an IPO, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • The workplace messaging service is aiming to list between April and June.
    • Slack had previously hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group to lead its initial public offering.

    Slack is planning to go public through a direct listing, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

    Slack, which operates a popular workplace instant-messaging and collaboration app, is likely to debut in the second quarter and currently expects to do so via a direct listing, according to the report.

    Slack was valued at $7.1 billion in August after raising $427 million in an investment round led by Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic. The company has 8 million daily active users.

    Read more: Slack has only 8 million daily active users but would very much like that to become 500 million

    The plan for direct listing will potentially make Slack the second big technology company after Spotify Technology SA to bypass a traditional IPO, WSJ reported.

    Slack had previously hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group to lead its initial public offering as an underwriter, Reuters reported in December.

    Slack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    SEE ALSO: Slack just raised a whopping $427 million to become a $7.1 billion company. Now it has to defeat Microsoft.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun

    • A Saudi teen who ran away from her family and secured refugee status from the UN has reportedly been offered asylum in Australia.
    • Rahaf al-Qunun secured UN protection after she launched a Twitter campaign begging governments to help her escape family who "consider me as property."
    • She fled to Thailand on Saturday and barricaded herself in a hotel room, and avoided deportation when the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) saved her on Monday.
    • On Friday, al-Qunun told media she has been offered asylum in Australia, which Thai police said as well. Australian officials decline to comment to INSIDER.  

    A Saudi teen whose quest to escape her family in the Middle East went viral has reportedly been granted asylum by Australia.

    Rahaf al-Qunun, 18, is currently in Thailand, where she posted live updates as she barricaded herself in a hotel room, met with the UN, and asked to be given a new home in Australia.

    According to an interview al-Qunun gave to Daily Mail Australia, she has been told that her application for asylum was approved. 

    alqunun rahaf

    According to the site, she said: "They accepted me... I am so happy! I will start a new life."

    Thai immigration officials, cited by CNN, also said that Australia had granted the request. The Australian government declined to comment when asked by INSIDER about al-Qunun's case.

    al-Qunun's Twitter account, which first helped her share her story with the world, was taken offline on Friday. Shortly beforehand, tweeted that she had "some bad and some good news."

    Another account, which al-Qunun had identified as belonging to a friend, tweeted on Friday:"Rahaf received death threats and for this reason she closed her Twitter account, please save Rahaf life."

    An asylum case that gripped the world

    al-Qunun's story came to light after she left Kuwait for Thailand on Saturday. She barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room after Thai authorities seized her passport and tried to send her back to family.

    She says she left her relatives, who live in Kuwait, because they "consider me as property." She said that, were she sent back, they would kill her for renouncing Islam.

    alqunun rahaf


    Al-Qunun was deemed a refugee by the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) on Wednesday, which means officials decided that her reasons for fleeing are legitimate.

    Under rules agreed at the UN 1951 Refugee Convention, member states are banned from sending someone with refugee status back to the country they are fleeing.

    saudi phone passport al qunun

    Thailand, where al-Qunun now is, has not signed up to these rules. But the Thai government says it wants to protect refugees, and immigration officials have said they do not intend to send al-Qunun back.

    In a series of tweets after Al-Qunun arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport she said her family consider her a "slave," and will kill her if she is sent back, as punishment for renouncing Islam.

    Her father denied the claims on Thursday, according to Thailand's immigration police chief.

    Her viral success led a Saudi diplomat in Bangkok to joke: "I wish they [Thai police] would've confiscated her phone instead of her passport."

    In this photo released by the Immigration Bureau, Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, foreground walks by Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Trump border

    Here is what you need to know

    1. The US and China agree to more trade talks. A Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He, the country's top trade official who is one of President Xi Jinping's closest allies, plans to travel to Washington at the end of January to meet with a US team led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
    2. The British pound jumps after report says Brexit will probably be delayed. The pound climbed as much as 0.8% versus the dollar to 1.2851 after the Evening Standard reported that cabinet ministers said they expected Britain's exit from the European Union to be delayed past the March 29 deadline.
    3. Oil is on track for its longest winning streak in 30 years. Oil was on track for a 10th straight day of gains Friday, its longest winning streak since futures for the energy component started trading in June 1988.
    4. Goldman Sachs has formulated a strategy to crush earnings season. The bank has developed an options-trading strategy that has on average returned 24% over a six-day period.
    5. AB InBev is thinking about an IPO of its Asian operations. An initial public offering could raise as much as $5 billion and value the business at $70 billion, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
    6. JPMorgan traders and investment bankers are set for a bigger piece of the bonus pie. On average, JPMorgan employees are set to see their bonuses increase by mid-single digits versus a year ago, but equity traders and investment bankers are set to get a bigger share, a person familiar with the matter told Business Insider.
    7. Macy's got slammed after lowering guidance because of a disappointing holiday season. Shares of the retailer fell more than 17% Friday after the company slashed its annual profit guidance to between $3.95 and $4 a share, down from between $4.10 and $4.30, following a disappointing holiday season.
    8. Stock markets around the world were mixed. Japan's Nikkei (+0.97%) led the gains in Asia, and Germany's DAX (-0.18%) lags in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open down 0.26% near 2,590.
    9. Aphria reports ahead of the opening bell. The cannabis producer was expected to earn 0.02 Canadian dollars a share on 28.8 million Canadian dollars ($21.8 million) of revenue.
    10. US economic data is light. CPI will cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 3.2 basis points at 2.71%.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

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    San Francisco Rain

    The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco is a chance for healthcare companies to start the year off right.

    Executives give high-stakes presentations to investors — and then meet with them privately — to try to convince them to invest in their companies. Often, companies will save up news to announce at the event, like clinical trial results that show a new drug is working, or good financial news.

    But sometimes, the news is disappointing. That can send stocks plummeting and turn off investors. Or it can create openings for savvy investors to bet on companies at a cheap price.

    These are the five biotech stocks that had big tumbles during the conference this week.

    Happy hunting.

    Subscribe to Business Insider's weekly healthcare newsletter Dispensed for all the biggest news from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

    Alder BioPharmaceuticals

    Ticker: ALDR

    Share drop: -8.2% on January 8

    What happened: Alder is working on a type of migraine-prevention drug known as a CGRP inhibitor. The company presented at the JPMorgan conference on January 8. You can see the company's presentation here.

    Dova Pharmaceuticals


    Share drop: -10% on January 8

    What happened: Dova sells a treatment for the blood disease known as thrombocytopenia. The company presented at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on January 8, and discussed additional potential markets for its treament. You can see the presentation here.

    Crinetics Pharmaceuticals


    Share drop: -7.1% on January 10

    What happened: Crinetics is working on treatments for endocrine diseases and tumors. The company presented at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on January 9, after the close of regular trading. You can see Crinetics's slides from the event here.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    This is a preview of The Podcast Report from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    • The number of US podcast consumers has more than doubled in the past decade — and there's still a long runway for growth.
    • And the podcast listenership base continues to grow in the US amid declines in consumption of other premium ad environments.
    • Entertainers, music streaming platforms, and smart speakers will play a role in furthering podcast listenership growth throughout the next five years.

    Are your social circles and online feeds always buzzing with everyone’s latest podcast obsession? The number of US podcast consumers has more than doubled over the last decade. And by 2023, Business Insider Intelligence estimates there will be some 106 million regular podcast listeners in the US.

    Podcast Listener Base Growing

    People are getting hooked on audio from a young age, too. Over a quarter (26%) of US consumers over age 12 now listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, a jump from just 12% five years ago.

    And while the growing listener base is a huge draw for advertisers, it’s not the real reason they should be exploring podcast campaigns. After all, more than half of overall daily media consumption time in the US is now spent with video. Even so, podcasts have the upper hand.

    Why should brands advertise on podcasts?

    US podcast ad spend is expected to grow over 110% through 2020 — up to $659 million. But consider for a moment that TV and radio ad spend are already at $69 billion and $18 billion respectively, and this figure suddenly feels tiny. The podcast ad market’s small size implies many brands don’t recognize the valuable advertising opportunity podcasts offer.

    When looking at factors beyond pure audience size, podcast listeners present several key benefits that make the medium ripe for success for advertising — and brands would be remiss to overlook them.

    Here’s why brands should take podcast listeners seriously:

    • The majority of regular podcast listeners complete all or most of the podcasts they start. Forty-four percent of monthly podcast listeners finish most of the podcast episodes they start, while 43% finish the entire episode, per Edison Research and Triton Digital.
    • Listeners are more receptive to ads on podcasts than ads on other mediums. Of US respondents over the age of 18, 55% say they always or sometimes pay attention to podcast ads versus radio (45%), TV (44%), music streaming services (41%), and online video (34%) ads.
    • Most podcast listeners don't skip past ads. Because most podcast ads are read by the host and baked into podcasts, it can be difficult for listeners to easily and accurately skip past podcast ads without missing podcast content, spurring many to listen through podcast ads entirely.

    Want to Learn More?

    The Podcast Report from Business Insider Intelligence explores the key drivers affecting podcast listenership growth, detailing the benefits of advertising on podcasts versus other media formats, and outlines the best practices for implementing a successful podcast ad campaign.

    In full, the report discusses the barriers that will inhibit future growth in listenership and ad spending, and how these hurdles can be overcome to implement a successful podcast ad campaign and attract more big-budget brands into the space.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    xi jinping

    • Chinese authorities are detaining and interrogating dissident Twitter users in what seems of be an escalation of its internet censorship, The New York Times reports.
    • While Twitter is officially not available in China, a small percentage of Chinese internet users access it using software to circumvent the Great Firewall.
    • The Times interviewed nine people who've been questioned by police over their tweets, including a human rights activist who was manacled to a chair.

    Chinese Twitter users have been detained, interrogated, and threatened for their tweets, The New York Times reports.

    Twitter, like many internet platforms including Facebook and Google, is not available in China. Nonetheless, a small percentage of Chinese internet users circumvent the Great Firewall using software to access the site.

    Now it seems that Chinese authorities are cracking down.

    The Times spoke with nine Twitter users who have been questioned by the police, and reviewed a recording of a four-hour long interrogation. Officers showed people printouts of their tweets complaining that they were critical of the government or of President Xi Jinping, and advised them to take down their tweets or delete their accounts.

    Those interviewed told the Times that officers sometimes resorted to threats. An activist with a Twitter following of 8,000 said he was interrogated for eight hours while manacled to a chair. Afterwards, he signed a promise to stay off Twitter.

    Read more:Google is likely to end its efforts to build a censored search engine for China, says report

    A construction company employee told the Times that he was interrogated for 20 hours over a dissident cartoon he posted. He was released, but officers later showed up at his work demanding he sign a document saying he had disturbed the social order. After he signed, they showed him another document saying he was to be detained. He then spent two weeks in a cell watching propaganda videos.

    "We're like lambs," he told the Times in a phone interview. "They're taking us one after another. We have no ability to fight back."

    Another human rights activist, Wang Aizhong, told the Times: "If we give up Twitter, we are losing one of our last places to speak."

    He said that police demanded he delete tweets critical of the government. He refused, but last month Twitter started sending him messages with backup codes to his account and he found 3,000 of his tweets had been deleted. Wang believes they were taken down by state-affiliated hackers.

    A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment on the government campaign when contacted by the Times. Business Insider has contacted Twitter for comment.

    Read the full New York Times report here.

    SEE ALSO: Chinese ambassador to the US says mass surveillance and oppression of Muslim minority is to make them 'normal persons'

    Join the conversation about this story »

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